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February 23, 2020

 Matthew 4:12-17

Pastor Nate identified and answered three questions from Matthew 4:12-17:
• When did Jesus’ earthly ministry begin?
• Where did Jesus’ earthly ministry take place?
• What was one of the key components of Jesus’ earthly ministry?

1. Considering Matthew 4:12, we can find the answer in God’s Word to the first question:
“When did Jesus’ earthly ministry begin?” Pastor Nate taught us that Jesus’ earthly ministry began when John the Baptist’s ministry ended. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord and he was faithful to that task, despite his imprisonment. In John 3:30, John the Baptist says: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
We learn two important examples from John’s life:
o Those who follow Jesus Christ in this world will experience harm from those in this world.
o Believers are called to minister faithfully.
Which example is one you’ll remember this week? How does remembering the call to serve faithfully, as we take the Gospel around the world, impact you? And as we take that message, how does knowing that we may experience harm, impact you? How does it impact your prayer life for the persecuted church around the world?

2. Pastor Nate provided several verses concerning persecution for the believer:
o John 15:18-20
o 2 Timothy 3:10-12
o 1 Peter 4:12-13
o Matthew 5:10-12
Pastor Nate also defined persecution for us: “Those who honor Christ with their lives will face persecution: slander, mocking, insults, imprisonments, beatings, death; persecution for the Christian is not a matter of if, but when.”
Choose two verses to read together as a group. In what area of your life have you ever been discouraged by persecution? Do you see persecution occurring around you or someone you know? How does knowing that persecution is not a matter of “if, but when” bring comfort to a recent situation?


3. Considering Matthew 4:13-16, we can find the answer in God’s Word to the second
question: “Where did Jesus’ earthly ministry primarily take place?” We learned that the Lord Jesus Christ resided in Galilee; we learned that this was a superior location to any other; we learned that God knows exactly what He is doing. Jesus Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. In these verses of Matthew, are three truths:
o God’s Word is absolutely trustworthy. God always does what He says He will do.
o Jesus is the Messiah. He is the Christ.
o God’s wisdom is perfect, eternal and infinite.
What was new to you considering the location of Jesus’ earthly ministry? (The incorrect assumptions that “made no sense geographically or Christologically”? The important trade and sea routes? That “Galilee was on the way to everywhere?”)

Considering the three truths above: How are we doing at trusting God when we don’t understand what, how, why God does what He does? Please share what current situation in your life needs you to remember that “knowing according to Scripture, God is working out all things according to His good and perfect plan for the good of His people”?

4. Considering Matthew 4:17, we learn the answer in God’s Word to the third question: “What was one of the key components of Jesus’ earthly ministry?” Jesus Christ preached repentance “over and over”. Genuine repentance involves three things:
o Confession-admitting sin
o Contrition-being broken over our sin
o Conversion-turning from our sin to God
This results in a life characterized by righteousness or Godliness.
Pastor Nate challenged us with: “If this was the message, don’t you think that’s the message we should make over and over?”
Which person in your life needs to hear this message, continually? How can your group encourage you as you pray, serve and interact with this person?

5. From Matthew 4:12-17, we are reminded of those in our lives who have false hope or no hope.
o False Hope: erroneously think their work or deeds will earn them afterlife in glory
o No Hope: erroneously think their deeds are so awful they cannot experience eternal life in glory.
“Making Him known, can’t just be a mission statement; it must be a passion to reach to reach the lost.” How would living out a more passionate life to reach the unsaved look like for you and/or for your family? What needs to change from your schedule, your goals, your emotions to align your heart, with God’s help, to Jesus Christ’s example of preaching the Gospel with boldness and passion?